Zasimovich—In February, we introduced ShipmentOptimizer, which is optimizes international shipments based on the following three criteria at once: arrival at destination on a preferred date; maximized space/load utilization; and minimized overall transportation costs. As a result of this, shippers can enhance their inventory allocation decisions and ship more efficiently and accurately. We also expanded our global trucking capability and organization; added two origin points in China and one in Indonesia to our OceanGuaranteed shipping product; launched intermodal rail service connecting China’s hinterland to ocean services out of South China; introduced new agency relationships in Iraq and Kuwait; and began offering data analytics-based KPI dashboards, multi-item inventory optimization and packaging engineering via our in-house engineering department.
How are you differentiating your service offering to avoid commoditization? Are there any other efforts you are enacting to avoid commoditization?
Menner—Act as a strategic partner and continue to identify and execute on operational improvements and cost-savings opportunities that positively impact a company’s overall business. We go beyond just being a transactional services provider and develop deeper, collaborative partnerships through our Strategic Account Management program. We leverage quarterly business reviews and a customer advisory board to solicit insightful feedback for continuously improving our processes, tools and services to provide greater benefit to our customers.
Moore—Our core offering is a customized, engineered logistic network—which is difficult to commoditize. Generally, we differentiate ourselves on execution. Customers benefit from Ryder’s focus on being the best at operational execution—doing it right the first time. We leverage our deep industry expertise, proven track record and lean guiding principles to execute for our customers with precision and reliability.
Mount—This is really about a commitment to the relationship between the client and 3PL. Our company maintains a culture, focus and service commitment that is driven by client needs; reflected in our technology initiatives; and played out in our customizable service options and cost structures. But more so in the ongoing positive interactions and lifetime value we provide to our clients and their customers.
Zasimovich—We pride ourselves on offering more global end-to-end supply chain solutions and on having a very strong base of expertise and experience in many markets where some companies are only now just beginning to gain a foothold. For example, we were the first U.S.-based 3PL to establish operations in Mexico back in the early ‘90s, and we were the first in China to obtain wholly-owned foreign enterprise status. We also have focused on being an industry innovator—whether it’s to offer the first time-definite alternative to air or the first complete international optimization tool.
What emerging markets or opportunities are helping you grow as a 3PL service provider?
Menner—We see enormous growth opportunities in intermodal transportation as truckload capacity tightens and fuel prices remain high and unquestionably uncertain. Shippers are implementing strategies to take advantage of alternate modes (intermodal) and optimized shipment structures. The current and forthcoming improvements in rail infrastructure in the eastern part of the U.S. will assist in moving freight in that area of the country off of trucks and on to railroads. Mexico will be an ever-increasing manufacturer and trading partner—gaining further favor with the recent ‘near-shoring’ movement.
Moore—Our focus for the next few years will be in Asia: Singapore, Vietnam, China and Thailand.
Mount—Today we are focused on three horizontal market segments: e-commerce; catalog, or multi-channel marketers; and retail distribution. Within those markets, we have specific specialties that leverage our previous and aggressive investments in technology. Over the next two-to-three years, we plan on converting these differentiated services and expanded capacity into new business relationships.
Zasimovich—Like many 3PLs, we’re seeing a lot of customer interest in the BRIC countries, particularly China, India and South America. In addition, we are seeing more interest in Mexico as the nearshoring trend gains momentum. We have strong footprints and established operations in all of these markets and will continue to grow our presence there as customer interest and market conditions dictate.